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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

THE TYBANNT  OF SAHSA.                                              58
the Bhagavat Puraaa,* or rather its tenth Book, which has been translated into
every form of the modern vernacular. The Hindi version, entitled the Frem
Sag-ir, is the one held in most repute. lu constructing the following legend
of Krishna, in his popular character as the tutelary divinity of Mathura, the
Vishnu Parana has been adopted as the basis of the narrative, \vlule many
supplementary incidents have been extracted from the Bhugavut, and occasional
references made to the Harivansa.
In the days when Eama vras king of Ajodhyfi, there stood near the bank of
the Jamnna a dense forest, once the stronghold of the terrible giant Madhu,
who called it after his own name, Madhu-ban, On his death it passed into the
hand of his son, Lavana, who in the pride of his superhuman strength sent an
insolent challenge to Bama, provoking him to single combat. The god-like
hero disdained the easy victory for himself, but, to relieve the world of such an
oppressor sent, his youngest brother, Satrughna, who vanquished and slew the «
giant, hewed down the wood in which lie had entrenched himself, and on its,
sitef founded the city of Mathura. The family of Blioja, a remote descendant
of the great Jadu, the common father of all the Jadav race, occupied the throne
for many generations. The last of the line was King Ugrasen. In his house
Kaasa was born, and was nurtured by the king as his own son, though in truth
lie had no earthly father^ but was the greai demon Kalanemi incarnate. As
soon as he came to man's estate he deposed the aged monarch, seated himself
on the throne, and filled the city with carnage and desolation. The priests and
sacred cattle were ruthlessly massacred and the temples of the gods defiled
with blood. Heaven was besieged witb prayers for deliverance from such a
monster, aor were the prayers unheared. A supernatural voice declared to
Ivansa that aa avenger would be born in the person of the eighth son of
Ms kinsman^ Yasudeva. Now, Yasudeva had married Devaki, a niece of
King Ugrasen, and was living away from the court in retirement at the hill
of Gobardhan. la the hope of defeating the prediction, Kansa immediately
summoned them to Mathura and there kept them closely watched. J From
* The Bhagavat is written in a more elegant style than any of the other Puranas, and ia
traditionally ascribed to the grammarian Bopadeva, who flourished at the Court of Hemadri,
Eaji of Devagiii or Danlatabsd, ia the twelfth or thirteenth century after Christ.
tTKe present Madhu-baa is near the Tillage of Maholi, some five miles from Mathura and
from the bank of the Jamuni. The site, however, as now recognized, must be Tery ancient, since
it is the ban which has given its name to the Tillage 5 Maholi being a corruption of the original
form, Mtdhnpuri.
t The site of their prison-home, called the Kara-groh, or more commonly Janm-bhfimi, i, e.>
4 birth-place,1 is §tKl marked by & small temple in Mathura near the Potara-kond.
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